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2008-2012 GM Chevrolet Malibu Rear Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to replace the rear brake pads on a 7th generation (2008-2012) GM Chevy Malibu with picture illustrated instructions.

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Malibu Rear Wheel
Loosen 5 Lug Nuts
Floor Jack - Raise Vehicle
This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the 7th generation (2008 to 2012) GM Chevrolet Malibu in replacing the rear brake pads.

Owners of other General Motors vehicles such as the Impala, Sonic, Cruze, Volt, Corvette, Camaro, Tahoe, Colorado, Equinox, Traverse, Buick Regal, Enclave, LaCrosse, GMC Acadia, Terrain, Yukon, Cadillac CTS, ATS, XTS, Escalade, Pontiac Grand Prix, Grand Am, G6, G5, G8, Aztec, Alero, Silhouette, Bravada, Aurora, and Oldsmobile Intrigue may also find these DIY front brake job instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this procedure include a tire iron, a floor jack, two jack stands, a 14mm socket or standard wrench, a 3/8" drive ratchet, a "screw-in" type disc brake piston tool such as the Lisle 28600 and a new set of rear brake pads.

A few of the compatible aftermarket rear brake pads include the following with their part numbers: Bendix RD1033, Monroe DX1033, ACDelco 14D1033CH or 17D1033CH, Raybestos PGD1033C,  Prime Choice SCD1033, Wearever PNAD1364 Premium Ceramic and Wagner ThermoQuiet PD1033A.

Spin Off Lug Nuts
5 Lug Nuts Removed
Rear Brake Caliper, Rotor, Pads
The first two steps are to chock the front wheels and ensure that the parking/emergency brake is not engaged.

Then slightly loosen the lug nuts on the rear wheel(s) before raising the vehicle with the floor jack.

Securely support the car with at least two jack stands.

Spin the five lug nuts off the rest of the way and set them aside in a safe place.

Pull off the rear wheel to reveal the rear brake caliper, bracket and rotor.

Two Brake Caliper Bolts
Remove Lower 14mm Bolt
Socket & Wrench Won't Fit
Use the 14mm socket and ratcheting wrench to remove the lower caliper bolt by turning it clockwise as seen from the outside of the vehicle.

A brake line near the upper caliper bolt makes it difficult to use the socket and ratcheting wrench so you'll need to loosen it with a standard 14mm wrench or an adjustable wrench instead.

14mm or Adjustable Wrench
Pull Out Caliper Bolts
2 14mm Bolts Removed
Remove the two 14mm caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.
Lift Off Rear Caliper
Securely Hang On Suspension
Remove Old Brake Pads
Gently lift the rear caliper off the brake pads and out of the bracket.

Pull the old brake pads out of the caliper bracket. If you trouble removing them, try wiggling them as you pull.

Inner Rear Brake Pad
Wear Bar - Bottom of Inner Pad
Remove & Check Caliper Pins
Make a note of where the wear or "squeal" bar is located so you can install it on the new pads.

On this 2011 Malibu, the wear bar was situated at the bottom of the inner pad.

In order to ensure optimum braking performance, the two caliper slider pins should be removed and lubricated if necessary with brake caliper grease.

Gently pull the caliper pins out of their rubber dust boots. If they appear dry, generously lubricate them with a high pressure "moly" grease or "caliper pin" grease.

Push the caliper slider pins back in until the rubber dust boots snap back into place over the lip at their ends.


Lubricate Pins If Needed
Lisle 28600 Disc Brake Piston Tool
Test Fit Piston Tool
In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the rear caliper piston will need to be moved backwards.

Like many modern sedans with rear disc brakes, the Chevy Malibu has "screw-in" type rear caliper pistons that need to be turned back with a special tool rather than compressed with a standard "C" or "F" clamp.

I prefer using the Lisle Disc Brake Piston Tool # 28600. Test fit the different sides of the cube shaped piston tool until you find the side with the best grip on the piston. It should be the side with the two large "nubs" or "pegs" diagonally opposite each other.

Correct Side For Malibu
Rotate Caliper Piston Back
Replace Brake Fluid Cap
Attach the disc brake piston tool to a 3/8" drive extension and a ratcheting wrench.

To allow the brake fluid to more easily travel backwards through the system, move to the engine bay and remove the brake fluid reservoir cap by twisting it off counter clockwise.

Place the tool against the rear caliper piston and very slowly turn it clockwise to retract the piston backwards into the caliper assembly.

Replace the brake fluid reservoir cap as soon as possible since brake fluid is "hygroscopic" and readily absorbs moisture from the air.

I've had good luck with the Wagner ThermoQuiet PD1033A rear brake pads. They are simple to install with no backing plates, shims or lube required and have great reviews on Amazon.

Install New Pads In Bracket
Lower Caliper Over Pads
Tighten 14mm Caliper Bolts
Insert the new rear brake pads into the bracket with the wear bar situated at the bottom of the inner pad.

Gently lower the caliper over the new pads and down into the bracket. If the caliper won't fit over the new pads, you may need to turn the screw-in piston back a bit more.

Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with the bolt holes in the caliper slider pins. Insert the two caliper bolts and tighten them by hand a few threads to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the caliper bolts to just past hand tight or about 25 ft lbs of torque. It may be impossible to get a torque wrench on the upper caliper bolt due to the brake line being in the way.

Double check that both caliper bolts are tight before continuing on to the next steps.

Brake Line Bleeder Cap
Brake Line Bleeder Valve
Replace Rear Wheel
If your brake pedal previously felt soft, mushy, or spongy, the brake fluid may be contaminated with moisture or the brake lines may contain some air bubbles.

It would be best to bleed the brake lines at this time in order to flush out the old fluid and replace it with fresh DOT 3 brake fluid. For more on this topic, check out my Brake Line Fluid Bleeding With An Assistant DIY Guide or alternatively the Brake Line Fluid Bleeding With A Power Bleeder Guide.

If you haven't already, don't forget to replace the cap on the brake fluid reservoir by twisting it on clockwise.

Lower Vehicle - Floor Jack
Tighten Lug Nuts
Replace Brake Fluid Cap
Replace the rear wheel and spin on the five lug nuts by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron before lowering the vehicle off the jack stands and the floor jack.

Progressively tighten the lug nuts in a "criss-cross" or star pattern to about 1/4 to 1/2 turn past hand tight. It would be best to use a torque wrench or an air gun with a torque stick to tighten the lug nuts to about 75-100 ft lbs of torque.

Sit in the driver's seat and firmly press the brake pedal a few times to restore the brake line pressure. Then check the brake fluid in the reservoir and verify that it is at the proper level.

To properly break in your new front brake pads, just drive as you normally would for the first few hundred miles while trying to avoid any hard or "panic" stops which may glaze over the new brake pads and cause them to be noisy and not perform as well.

It's also a good idea to regularly examine your driveway for drops of brake fluid which may indicate a leak, check the brake fluid level in the reservoir, and also check that the lug nuts are still properly tightened. 

Please check out my other 2008-2012 Chevy Malibu Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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